If you were to truly grasp the beauty and hope of John’s vision of the promise of heaven described in Revelation 21 and 22, what would change about the way you live your life?
Here are four ways the promise of heaven should transform our lives today.
1. We should put up our bucket lists.
For the three of you who don’t know what a “bucket list” is: Bucket lists are all the things you want to do before you die (kick the bucket) because you assume you’ll never have a chance to do them again. That’s never true for the Christian. When Jesus says that he’s making “all things” new, doesn’t that include all the mountains, stars, rivers, oceans, animals, culture, arts, music, architecture and extreme sports that you never got to experience on earth? Does your Bible have an asterisk with a list of things in fine print that are not included in that contract?
All means all.
Revelation 21:26 even says that “they will bring into it the glory and honor of the nations,” which has to mean the best of culture—the best Italian food, the best of Arabian architecture (a personal favorite), Renaissance paintings, even the best of Disneyworld. So even the manmade things we didn’t get to experience on earth, we’ll get to experience there!
The one thing we can’t do there that we can do here is tell people about Jesus, so give your life to that, not to pursuing some silly bucket list item you’ll experience a better version of in heaven anyway.
2. We should stop being depressed about aging.
Many people are really bothered by getting old. It depresses them to watch their beauty fade or to feel their body decline.
And I get it. I am 43, and I’m already feeling it. Sometimes I wake up in the morning sore, when all I did the night before was sleep. Sleeping made me sore. Somehow going from vertical to horizontal for a few hours was too much for my body. How does that happen?
But there is good news! I’ve got a glorified version of this body waiting. And so do you.
Stop being depressed about passing your peak. A better version of your mind, your muscles and your beauty awaits.
3. We should teach our kids to look forward to the promise of heaven.
Teach your kids that for all that they love on earth, there will be an even better version of it in heaven. Teach them that they have a heavenly Father of endless goodness and creativity. Help them imagine: What’s this cotton candy going to be like in heaven?
People have often asked me if their dogs will be in heaven. I used to give what I considered “tough truth”: “No, dogs don’t have souls, so they don’t live eternally.” Now I say, “You know what? It’s a new heaven and a new earth with a healed version of all that we loved down here. So, you figure out what that means.”
You say, “How about my cat?” Don’t push it.
Let’s teach our kids that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift, that no eye has seen nor ear heard what God has prepared for those who love him, and they can trust him in life and in death.
4. We should understand what we are longing for.
C.S. Lewis once said that the fact that we long for something beyond the grave is a strong indication that it actually exists:
“Do fish complain of the sea for being wet? Or, if they did, would not that fact strongly suggest that they had not been, or were not destined to be, aquatic creatures? We long to step out of the sea of time onto the land of eternity! Doesn’t that show we were created for eternity? If I find in myself a desire which nothing in this world can satisfy, the best argument is that I was created for another world.”
You may struggle to believe in the hope of heaven. But I want you to wrestle with the fact that there’s something in you that knows that you were created for more than simply surviving and procreating. That love you feel, the longing for meaning that you have—those are not just illusions created by chemicals in our brains programmed by evolution as survival mechanisms to help us propagate our DNA into the future faster than your neighbor.
You long for meaning and eternity because you were created with meaning by an eternal God, and you will be satisfied only in relationship to him.
For more, be sure to listen to the entire message here.